Derek Jeter awaited the results of an MRI on a right thigh strain sustained during his first Major League Baseball appearance in nine months in which he batted 1-for-4 as his New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4.
Jeter, the 39-year-old team captain, was New York’s designated hitter yesterday at Yankee Stadium after being promoted from a four-game minor-league rehabilitation assignment that followed two left ankle fractures.
He was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning and will have an exam done on his leg, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a televised post-game news conference.
“His right quad tightened up a little bit and so he said something and I said, ‘You’re done,’” Girardi said.
No update on the results of the MRI was available last night, Yankee spokesman Michael Margolis said in an e-mail.
“I felt good up until that point,” Jeter told reporters yesterday. “We’ll see.”
Jeter had an infield single in his first at-bat, hitting a ground ball weakly down the third-base line that the Royals’ Miguel Tejada was unable to field cleanly. It was his 3,305th career hit, moving him within 10 of tying Eddie Collins for 10th in MLB history.
After grounding out to third base in the second inning, Jeter came to the plate in the fifth with the Yankees trailing 4-3. He advanced a runner with a grounder to second before Kansas City pitcher Ervin Santana issued consecutive walks, one intentionally, to load the bases. Lyle Overbay then hit a two-run single and Zoilo Almonte and Eduardo Nunez followed with run-scoring singles to give New York a 7-4 advantage.
Jeter added a run-scoring groundout in the sixth.
“I was nervous going into the game,” Jeter said. “It’s almost like it’s opening day. What is it, July now? I’ve lost track of the months.”
Andy Pettitte, who gave up all the Royals’ runs in the first two innings, lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits with a strikeout and a walk.
Santana allowed eight earned runs in five-plus innings, giving up 10 hits while striking out four and walking three.
Jeter’s appearance meant that he and relief pitcher Mariano Rivera now have played 19 major league seasons on the same team, tying the record held by Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers.
Jeter broke his ankle during the 2012 playoffs in October, underwent surgery and then attempted to come back during spring training, only to be shut down after a small crack was found in the area of his initial injury.
In April, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he expected Jeter to return to the Yankees after the All-Star break, which is next week. The team has been hampered by injuries all season, including two days ago to Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner.
“Our original plan wasn’t really to bring him back today, but we’ve been in kind of a tough situation all year and you get a couple of guys who get beat up yesterday,” Girardi said. “We just felt if he was going to play down in Triple-A he could play up here today.”
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